DeSoto County Administration Building

DeSoto County Administration Building

DeSoto County continues the cleanup after the Jan. 11 tornadoes that struck the Lewisburg and Love communities of the county. The totals that have come in thus far on the damage sustained have been significant.

Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Olson reported to the county Board of Supervisors at its Jan. 21 meeting details about the storms and the damage.

The tornado that hit the Love Community was an EF-1 storm with 100 mile-per-hour winds. The storm started at 4:42 a.m. and traveled 11.3 miles through a part of Tate County into DeSoto County. The report had the storm dissipating three minutes after it started.

A total of 139 homes were affected by the storm, including six that were destroyed and eight with major damage, Olson said. Four commercial buildings were hit and two were destroyed.

The second tornado was an EF-2 storm with up to 120 mile-per-hour winds. It traveled 8.25 miles and started at 4:53 a.m. and ended just after 5 a.m.

Damage assessments from the county in the Lewisburg vicinity totaled 404 homes and 13 commercial buildings affected. Of that figure, 15 homes and three commercial buildings were destroyed. An additional 20 homes and three commercial buildings sustained major damage from the tornado.

County employees have done a tremendous job pitching in to help in the storm recovery and were praised by Olson and the supervisors for their work.

“Everybody worked together to do this,” said Olson. “The first responders who came out as volunteers to the citizens that came out to volunteer and help clear up the road at the very beginning. Since that day on, it’s been neighbor helping neighbor with food, water, clearing their yards. It’s really truly amazing to see God’s love coming from our citizens.”

County Environmental Services Director Ray Laughter said employees hauled a total of 19,800 yards of debris from the curbside, or a total of 718 loads, as of Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Of that total, 7,800 yards were taken to the burn pit.

Supervisors passed a proclamation of thanks to agencies for their help in the storm response.

“I’ve never seen people pull together like this,” said Board President Jesse Medlin. “I’ve never been more proud of our employees than I’ve been.”

HOLLY SPRINGS ROAD BID APPROVED: Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 21 also moved forward on the Holly Springs Road improvement project.

Board members approved the bid of Talbot Brothers Contracting of Nesbit in the amount of approximately $20.4 million for Phase 1 of the project, which will involve three bridges and the elevation of the road by 10 feet to prevent constant flooding problems along the road way.

The first phase of the work will be from east of Short Fork Creek to just east of Pigeon Roost Creek and just begin in the early spring of this year. It should take about a year-and-a-half to complete, according to Tracy Huffman of Waggoner Engineering.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.